Two 1948 kitchens in Mary and Duane’s time capsule house


1948 kitchenMary and Duane’s 1948 time capsule house is a sweet little Cape Cod. Quintessentially post-war New England, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a Royal Barry Wills. I need to go through all my books and see if I can find the plan — wouldn’t that be something? Oh. I’m writing about the kitchens. Yes: This house may be small — but this house is mighty! There is an original kitchen downstairs… and a second equally useful kitchen upstairs. Both have original vintage steel cabinets — and more. 

The main kitchen downstairs:

The downstairs kitchen is most notable for its fantastic stainless steel combination countertop + double sinks + backsplash. This must have been SOMETHING back in the day! Remember, the original owner was a plumbing contractor, we are told, so we see lots of little extra something in this house. 

This is my third story on Mary and Duane’s house. The other two:

The original metal cabinets remain. I can’t identify the maker on sight, I might be able to find these in my vintage marketing materials. Don’t hold your breath, though, my piles have piles. 

No more photos of this kitchen. The rest of the space is taken up by a small kitchen table ‘where I’m standing while taking this photo’. As you can see, the original flooring is still in place, and the stove and refrigerator have been updated.

But wait til you see…

The upstairs kitchen: 

Above: An original steel sink cabinet unit with dual-drainboard enameled sink. 

To the left of the sink, a vintage Universal stove!

To the right of the sink: A cute little vintage GE refrigerator.

To the right of the refrigerator, there’s a door to storage in the attic eaves. But lookie close: There’s a can opener attached to the door frame!

Photo dump:

Note: A while back, I did a lot of research going through brochures. The most popular color for countertops in the 1940s, I decided: Black. These countertops are some sort of plastic or vinyl or… ? … mashup. They are not laminate.

Floor is original. Molly let me help her choose colors for new paint in various parts of the house. In this room, I recommended a beige that was found in the floor tile (she wanted something neutral). The new color looks very nice!

Bonus photos: Vintage Maytag in the mudroom downstairs. Doggonit: Even the washers were prettier back then!

  1. Helen Rubeo says:

    I’m pretty sure all the cabinets are General Electric. I have both in my old kitchen. I identified them by the drawer pulls. Inside, the original labels identify them as such.

  2. Jeannie says:

    I agree the black countertop material was most likely linoleum. Real linoleum will self-heal small knife nicks, and is antibacterial.

    Amber Dawn’s flooring is almost certainly felt-base. This was invented as a cheaper knockoff of linoleum, made from asphalt.
    Here’s a Popular Science article explaining the manufacturing process of both; the article was coincidentally written in 1948:


    1. Amber Dawn says:

      I bet you’re right! Underneath the thin layer of color is a black rubbery layer, and I think the bottom was vaguely felt-like when we lifted a piece to send off for asbestos testing.

      The only thing is that the original owners spared no expense when it came to the quality of their materials….but we were told that the kitchen floor has hardwood underneath, so maybe they never used this for flooring and only used it for lining the cabinets??

      I can’t tell if our countertops are from 1948 or if they were updated in the 60’s with the kitchen remodel, but if I had to bet I’d say it’s from the 60’s. It’s white with light mint green squigglies. I will probably always wonder if the countertops matched the inside of the cabinets, but I would think it would be a bit too much color even for a post-war kitchen. Not sure if it would be too much color for ME, though. I kinda love it and wish I had more.

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